Invalid Unit Specified
Division Detail Report: D006
Pinus palustris - Quercus hemisphaerica - Magnolia grandiflora Forest & Woodland Division

The U.S. National
Vegetation Classification
This mixed broadleaf evergreen (oak, magnolia) and pine (longleaf) forest and woodlands occur in the southeastern U.S. Coastal Plain from southern Virginia, south to Florida and west to east Texas.
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Translated Name:Longleaf Pine - Darlington Oak - Southern Magnolia Forest & Woodland Division
Colloquial Name:Southeastern North American Forest & Woodland
This mixed broadleaf evergreen and pine forest and woodland type occurs in the southeastern U.S. Coastal Plain from southern Virginia, south to Florida and west to east Texas. It varies from dry to moist open pine woodlands to mesic, fire-protected broadleaf evergreen forests. The xeric to moist pine woodlands are typically dominated by Pinus palustris. The driest examples include both sand barrens or scrub dominated by Pinus palustris or Pinus clausa and xeric longleaf pine-dominated woodlands dominated by Pinus palustris with understories of Quercus incana, Quercus laevis, and/or Quercus margarettiae. Mesic longleaf pine flatwoods have an open canopy of Pinus palustris with a grass-dominated ground layer, and a high diversity of forbs. Wet and mesic longleaf pine savannas and flatwoods have open canopies of Pinus palustris with or without other pines such as Pinus elliottii var. elliottii, Pinus serotina, or Pinus taeda. In contrast to the pine woodlands, the dry-mesic hardwood woodlands and forests are primarily evergreen broadleaf forests dominated by Quercus virginiana and/or Quercus hemisphaerica, or various combinations of Quercus fusiformis, Quercus geminata, Quercus hemisphaerica, and/or Quercus virginiana. Mesic mixed evergreen broad-leaved forests occur on slopes, bluffs, or sheltered ravines where fire is naturally rare. Stands typically contain Magnolia grandiflora, within its range, as well as Acer barbatum, Acer rubrum, Carya spp., Fagus grandifolia, Fraxinus americana, Liquidambar styraciflua, Liriodendron tulipifera, Magnolia acuminata, Magnolia macrophylla, Magnolia pyramidata, Magnolia tripetala (these four occur in scattered areas in the coastal plain), Nyssa sylvatica, Pinus glabra (east of the Mississippi River), and Quercus alba. Ruderal forests may occur on former agricultural sites or sites repeatedly logged. Succession to a ruderal type may be favored by a lack of fire, which favors fire-intolerant and exotic species. Some typical ruderal species include the native conifers Pinus clausa, Pinus elliottii, and Pinus taeda, the native hardwoods Acer rubrum var. rubrum, Catalpa bignonioides, Catalpa speciosa, Celtis laevigata, Liquidambar styraciflua, Maclura pomifera, Quercus hemisphaerica, Quercus nigra, and the exotics Albizia julibrissin, Broussonetia papyrifera, Quercus acutissima, and Triadica sebifera (= Sapium sebiferum).

The Southeastern Coastal Plain extends from the fall-line to the edge of the continental shelf, and is composed of alluvial and marine sediments. Much of the sediment, particularly at the surface, is siliceous alluvium, along with carbonaceous sediment. Common soil orders include sandy Entisols, Inceptisols, and Ultisols. The near-coastal maritime examples are affected by coastal processes, and are prone to salt spray effects and storm surge from major hurricanes. The climate of the coastal plain is humid subtropical, also referred to as warm-temperate, with mean daily temperatures between 0° and 18°C in the coldest month and >22°C in the warmest month. Rainfall is distributed evenly throughout the year, and averages about 100 to 135 cm (40-55 cm a year). This region has the highest frequency of lightning strikes of any region in North America, leading to frequent fires.
The tree canopy is between 10-80+% cover, and dominated by a mix of needleleaf conifers, broadleaf evergreens and broadleaf deciduous trees. Strong diagnostics include the pines Pinus palustris, Pinus clausa, Pinus elliottii var. elliottii, Pinus glabra (east of the Mississippi River), Pinus serotina, the oaks Quercus incana, Quercus laevis, Quercus margarettiae, Quercus virginiana and/or Quercus hemisphaerica, Quercus fusiformis, or Quercus geminata, as well as other hardwoods, especially Magnolia grandiflora (within its range). Moderate to weak diagnostics (but common dominants) include Acer barbatum, Acer rubrum, Carya spp., Fagus grandifolia, Fraxinus americana, Liriodendron tulipifera, Liquidambar styraciflua, Magnolia acuminata, Magnolia macrophylla, Magnolia pyramidata, Magnolia tripetala (these four Magnolia spp. occur in scattered areas in the coastal plain), Nyssa sylvatica, and Quercus alba. Diagnostic exotics include Albizia julibrissin, Broussonetia papyrifera, Quercus acutissima, and Triadica sebifera.
Vegetation Hierarchy
Name:Database Code:Classification Code:
Class 1 Forest & Woodland C01 1
Subclass 1.B Temperate & Boreal Forest & Woodland S15 1.B
Formation 1.B.1 Warm Temperate Forest & Woodland F018 1.B.1
Division 1.B.1.Na Southeastern North American Forest & Woodland D006 1.B.1.Na
Macrogroup M007 Longleaf Pine Woodland M007 1.B.1.Na.1
Macrogroup M008 Southern Mesic Mixed Broadleaf Forest M008 1.B.1.Na.3
Macrogroup M305 Southeastern North American Ruderal Forest M305 1.B.1.Na.90
Macrogroup M885 Southeastern Coastal Plain Evergreen Oak - Mixed Hardwood Forest M885 1.B.1.Na.2
Distribution northward in Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri needs review.
Synonomy: > Deciduous Dicotyledonous - Evergreen Dicotyledonous - Coniferous Forest (Greller 1989) [This type and Temperate Broadleaved Evergreen Forest largely equate to this division concept.]
> Live Oak - Sea Oats (90) (Küchler 1964) [The maritime forests.]
> Maritime Vegetation Gradients / Maritime Forest (Christensen 2000) [This type and two other types equate to this division. Christensen (p. 430) briefly notes this type.]
> Sand Pine Scrub (115) (Küchler 1964) [Küchler's type may also include the scrub/shrub types, which are excluded here.]
= Southeastern Deciduous and Evergreen Forest (Brown et al. 1998) [Very similar mapped concept.]
> Southern Mixed Forest (112) (Küchler 1964) [This type is largely equivalent to this division, but see also Küchler's Live Oak - Sea Oats type.]
= Southern Mixed Hardwood Forest (Greller 2013) [Largely equivalent.]
> Temperate Broadleaved Evergreen Forest (Greller 1989) [This type and Deciduous Dicotyledonous - Evergreen Dicotyledonous - Coniferous Forest largely equate to this division concept.]
> Upland Hardwood Forest (Christensen 2000) [This type and two other types equate to this division. See p. 416ff.]
> Upland Pine Forest Vegetation (Christensen 2000) [This type and two other types equate to this division. See p. 402. Christensen also includes New Jersey Pine Barrens, which we treat elsewhere, with G161/M502.]

Related Type Name:

Short Citation:
  • Braun 1950
  • Brown et al. 1998
  • Christensen 2000
  • Delcourt and Delcourt 2000
  • Faber-Langendoen et al. 2017a
  • Greller 1989
  • Greller 2013
  • Küchler 1964
States/Provinces:AL, AR, DE?, FL, GA, KY?, LA, MD?, MS, NC, SC, TN, TX, VA
Nations:US
Range:This type occurs in the coastal plain from Maryland and southern Virginia, south to Florida and west to east Texas.
US Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name:
Division Name:
Province Name:
Province Code:   Occurrence Status:
Section Name:
Section Code:     Occurrence Status:
The structure varies from very open, fire-dependent pine woodland, with as little as 10% canopy cover to mesic, fire-protected broadleaf evergreen forests with closed canopies with >80% cover. Xeric stands may have a scrubby 5-m tall tree canopy. The most open stands (10-30% cover) are sometimes referred to as savannas. The ground layer varies from open grass or scrub in pine woodlands to dense shrub/herb layers in mesic conditions.
The xeric to moist pine woodlands are typically dominated by Pinus palustris. The driest examples include scrub woodlands dominated by Pinus palustris or Pinus clausa, and taller, longleaf pine-dominated woodlands dominated by Pinus palustris with understories of Quercus incana, Quercus laevis, and/or Quercus margarettiae. Mesic longleaf pine flatwoods have an open canopy of Pinus palustris with a grass-dominated ground layer and a high diversity of forbs. Wet and mesic longleaf pine savannas and flatwoods have open canopies of Pinus palustris with or without other pines such as Pinus elliottii var. elliottii, Pinus serotina, or Pinus taeda. In contrast to the pine woodlands, the dry-mesic hardwood woodlands and forests are primarily evergreen broadleaf forests dominated by Quercus virginiana and/or Quercus hemisphaerica, or various combinations of Quercus fusiformis, Quercus geminata, Quercus hemisphaerica, and/or Quercus virginiana. Mesic stands typically contain Magnolia grandiflora, within its range, as well as Acer barbatum, Acer rubrum, Carya spp., Fagus grandifolia, Fraxinus americana, Liquidambar styraciflua, Liriodendron tulipifera, Magnolia acuminata, Magnolia macrophylla, Magnolia pyramidata, Magnolia tripetala (these four occur in scattered areas in the coastal plain), Nyssa sylvatica, Pinus glabra (east of the Mississippi River), and Quercus alba. Ruderal forests may occur on former agricultural sites or sites repeatedly logged. Succession to a ruderal type may be favored by a lack of fire, which favors fire-intolerant and exotic species. Some typical ruderal species include the native conifers Pinus clausa, Pinus elliottii, and Pinus taeda, the native hardwoods Acer rubrum var. rubrum, Catalpa bignonioides, Catalpa speciosa, Celtis laevigata, Liquidambar styraciflua, Maclura pomifera, Quercus hemisphaerica, Quercus nigra, and the exotics Albizia julibrissin, Broussonetia papyrifera, Quercus acutissima, and Triadica sebifera (= Sapium sebiferum).
Climate: According to the Koeppen classification, the climate of the Southeastern Coastal Plain is humid subtropical, also referred to as warm-temperate. Mean daily temperatures are between 0° and 18°C in the coldest month and >22°C in the warmest month. Rainfall is distributed evenly throughout the year, and averages about 100 to 135 cm (40-55 cm a year). Although annual precipitation exceeds potential evapotranspiration throughout most of the year, summer dry periods may occur. In addition, this region has the highest frequency of lighting strikes of any region in North America, leading to frequent fires (Christensen 2000 and references therein).

Soils/Substrate: The forests of this division are on the Southeastern Coastal Plain, which extends from the fall-line to the edge of the continental shelf, and is composed of alluvial and marine sediments. Much of the sediment, particularly at the surface, is siliceous alluvium, along with carbonaceous sediment. These sediments have been reworked considerably by coastal and fluvial processes during the last 2-3 million years. Common soil orders include sandy Entisols (soils with virtually no profile development), Inceptisols (soils with weakly developed horizons) on alluvial plains, and Ultisols (highly weathered soils with a B horizon that contains translocated clays) (Christensen 2000 and references therein). The near-coastal maritime examples are affected by coastal processes, and are prone to salt spray effects and storm surge from major hurricanes.
Moderate
Dynamics vary from dry to moist sites. Exposure to frequent, low-intensity surface fires is the dominant natural ecological process structuring the physiognomy of longleaf pine woodlands, influencing the local biodiversity. The absence of fire for only a few years may dramatically alter the physiognomy and composition of the lower strata, with understory hardwoods and shrubs crowding out the grasses and forbs. Maritime Quercus virginiana-dominated examples are influenced by coastal processes. Coastal erosion and accretion cause shifting of coastal landforms. Hurricanes and other storms can knock down large areas of coastal forests, and the influence of salt spray limits the plants that can survive along the coast. Mesic broadleaf forests, which often occur in ravines and on slopes near rivers or creeks, are naturally protected from wildland fire. Here, wind and heavy rain from hurricanes can cause canopy gaps where trees are toppled or broken.

Biogeography: The late Pleistocene studies of these forests show that during the Altonian sub-age of the Wisconsian (40,000 BP), there was forest vegetation similar to today's forest vegetation across a broad band extending from the coast of Georgia across the Mississippi embayment and into east Texas. With the drop in sea levels, the coastal plain extended east and south into what is now ocean. Through the remainder of the Wisconsinan, this band shifted in relation to the changing ice mass to the north. Although not located in a single refuge, many constituents of the mixed mesophytic forest could be found in scattered habitats in the Southeast. Sea levels returned to near their current position by 5000 to 3500 year BP (Christensen 2000 and references therein).
Authors:
D. Faber-Langendoen      Version Date: 30Jan2015


References:
  • Braun, E. L. 1950. Deciduous forests of eastern North America. Hafner Press, New York. 596 pp.
  • Brown, D. E., F. Reichenbacher, and S. E. Franson. 1998. A classification of North American biotic communities. The University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City. 141 pp.
  • Christensen, N. L. 2000. Vegetation of the Southeastern Coastal Plain. Pages 398-448 in: M. G. Barbour and W. D. Billings, editors. North American terrestrial vegetation. Second edition. Cambridge University Press, New York. 434 pp.
  • Delcourt, H. R., and P. A. Delcourt. 2000. Eastern deciduous forests. Pages 357-395 in: Barbour, M. G., and W. D. Billings, editors. North American terrestrial vegetation. Second edition. Cambridge University Press, New York. 434 pp.
  • Faber-Langendoen, D., J. Drake, S. Gawler, M. Hall, C. Josse, G. Kittel, S. Menard, C. Nordman, M. Pyne, M. Reid, L. Sneddon, K. Schulz, J. Teague, M. Russo, K. Snow, and P. Comer, editors. 2010-2017a. Divisions, Macrogroups and Groups for the Revised U.S. National Vegetation Classification. NatureServe, Arlington, VA. plus appendices. [in preparation]
  • Greller, A. M. 1989. Correlation of warmth and temperateness with the distributional limits of zonal forests in eastern North America. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 116:145-163.
  • Greller, A. M. 2013. Climate and regional composition of deciduous forest in eastern North America and comparisons with some Asian forests. Botanica Pacifica 2:3-18.
  • Küchler, A. W. 1964. Potential natural vegetation of the conterminous United States. American Geographic Society Special Publication 36. New York, NY. 116 pp.


USNVC Credits: Detailed Description of the National Vegetation Classification Types

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Author(s). publicationYear. Description Title [last revised revisionDate]. United States National Vegetation Classification. Federal Geographic Data Committee, Washington, D.C.

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About this document
This document contains type descriptions at the Division level of the U.S. National Vegetation Classification. These descriptions were primarily written by NatureServe ecologists in collaboration with Federal Geographic Data Committee Vegetation Subcommittee and a wide variety of state, federal and private partners as a part of the implementation of the National Vegetation Classification. Formation descriptions were written by the Hierarchy Revisions Working Group. The descriptions are based on consultation with natural resource professionals, published literature, and other vegetation classification systems. The Ecological Society of America's Panel on Vegetation Classification is responsible for managing the review and formal adoption of these types into the National Vegetation Classification. Partners involved in the implementation of the USNVC include:

U.S. Government
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  • Department of Commerce (DOC)
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  • Department of the Interior (USDI)
  • Forest Service (FS) - Chair
  • National Agriculture Statistical Service (NASS)
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Disclaimer:
Given the dynamic nature of the standard, it is possible a type description is incomplete or in revision at the time of download; therefore, users of the data should track the date of access and read the revisions section of the USNVC.org website to understand the current status of the classification. While USNVC data have undergone substantial review prior to posting, it is possible that some errors or inaccuracies have remained undetected.

For information on the process used to develop these descriptions see:

Faber-Langendoen, D., T. Keeler-Wolf, D. Meidinger, D. Tart, B. Hoagland, C. Josse, G. Navarro, S. Ponomarenko, J.-P. Saucier, A. Weakley, P. Comer. 2014. EcoVeg: A new approach to vegetation description and classification. Ecological Monographs 84:533-561 (erratum 85:473).

Franklin, S., D. Faber-Langendoen, M. Jennings, T. Keeler-Wolf, O. Loucks, A. McKerrow, R.K. Peet, and D. Roberts. 2012. Building the United States National Vegetation Classification. Annali di Botanica 2: 1-9.

Jennings, M. D., D. Faber-Langendoen, O. L. Louckes, R. K. Peet, and D. Roberts. 2009. Standards for associations and alliances of the U.S. National Vegetation Classification. Ecological Monographs 79(2):173-199.

FGDC [Federal Geographic Data Committee]. 2008. Vegetation Classification Standard, FGDC-STD-005, Version 2. Washington, DC., USA. [http://www.fgdc.gov/standards/projects/FGDC-standards-projects/vegetation/NVCS_V2_FINAL_2008-02.pdf]

For additional information contact:

  • Implementation of the U.S. National Vegetation Classification Standard - Alexa McKerrow (amckerrow@usgs.gov)
  • NatureServe's Development of NVC Type Descriptions - Don Faber-Langendoen (don_faber- langendoen@natureserve.org)
  • Ecological Society of America's Review of the Type Descriptions Scott.Franklin@unco.edu
  • Federal Geographic Data Committee - Vegetation Subcommittee's Activities - Marianne Burke (mburke@fs.fed.us)
M. Pyne, C. Nordman and R.K. Peet, for materials taken from macrogroup descriptions.